Online retail is a tough business and women customers are a tough crowd. Frank Han knows. He's been there, done that, and he's doing it again.
But this time, with the launch of his new venture, Glimpse.com, the former co-founder of eToys Inc. — the online retailer that crashed mightily during the dot-com bust — has hindsight on his side.
Some lessons that Han and many other dot-com entrepreneurs learned: stay grounded and spend judiciously.
"This time around, all of us, we're smarter. You can't spend your way to prominence," Han said. "We know we're in a game to build a business. We're not just building eyeballs or building a brand at all costs."
Glimpse.com launched Thursday. It's an ambitious online shopping portal tailored for fashion-savvy women in their 20s and 30s.
It's part fashion magazine, part search engine, part shopping-comparison site and part shopping buddy. Users could go there to window-shop in cyberspace, browse the latest trends or find items to purchase.
The San Mateo-based startup seeks to provide a one-stop online mall, complete with 134 popular fashion and beauty stores from Banana Republic to Neiman Marcus, at your fingertips.
It's not a Costco and never will be, said Han, Glimpse.com's founder and chief executive officer. The Web site is for women who love to shop and aren't waiting for the best bargains because there are plenty of other online providers that will scour for deals, he said.
If users search for "clutch" at Glimpse.com, they'll see a selection of purses, not car parts.
The new shopping site has plenty of challenges ahead.
"The number of online retailers grows everyday," said Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org, the digital division of the National Retail Federation. "Everyone has competition, and everyone has to be careful in their positioning and how they find critical mass before their competitors do."